So, if my posts haven’t convinced you enough by now, I’m just going to come right out and say it – the places to be in Costa Rica, the places you really need to explore to understand this idea of pura vida are NOT found in the cities. These magical places that really represent Tico culture are found in the mountains and in the forests, but most importantly, on the beaches. And believe me, there are PLENTY of beaches to get lost and found on down here.
This past weekend a friend in the program turned 22 and decided to go to Playa Sámara to celebrate. I was very excited about this as I had heard from multiple sources that Sámara holds some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. And they were right.
We started our trip off after our volunteer service assignments around 1pm on Friday afternoon. We had to take a bus from San José to Nicoya, then wait about an hour and a half for a connecting bus to Sámara. We were 10 travelers all together, so we didn’t mind the wait. I might even go so far as to say the long trip there was enjoyable. We arrived in Sámara and went straight to our hostel home for the weekend – a charming estate in which we found we were the only visitors (for the night at least)!
In the morning, we decided to take a “tour” of sorts with two guys who were recommended to us by the owner of our hostel. I’ll admit I was a little wary when I saw our mode of transportation, an old VW van that had apparently recently been someone’s home and stalled on us several times while driving. But, being fearless adventurers, we hopped in and hoped for the best. Our guides took us to a secret spot past Playa Carrillo where a natural swimming pool had formed among the rocks. We relaxed there for a while, watched some crabs and sea urchins do their thing, ate some delicious papaya and drank mate for the first time! The mate was delicious and I highly recommend it, just beware that it is quite bitter! We then made our way to Playa Carrillo for a bit, and that playa was honestly one of, if not the most beautiful beach I’ve been to thus far.
Then, we returned to the hostel, rinsed off the salt water, and went to the local grocery store to stock up on supplies for dinner. Saturday was our friend’s birthday, so we decided to make tacos to celebrate! They were delicious, but so filling that the majority of us had to take a nap directly afterwards.
Sunday was spent recovering and resting on the beach. I even managed to snag a Cuban sandwich before we left, which made me VERY happy. I haven’t had a decent sandwich in what feels like forever, and Cubans are some of my favorites!
This weekend, like all of the others, was entirely too short, but this one was probably my favorite out of all that I’ve spent here. Not only were we in a beautiful location, but the group we went with was filled with some of my most favorite people in the program. Everyone was there to have a good time, to celebrate our friend’s birthday, and to just enjoy the sun and each other’s company. I think we achieved all of those things to the highest degree. Pura vida indeed 🙂